Coastguard warning after man and pet dog rescued from rocks at Whitburn

A man and his dog who became trapped on the rocks at Whitburn were brought to safety thanks to the rescue efforts of Sunderland RNLI and Sunderland Coastguard Rescue Team.

Sunday, 16th August 2020, 3:14 pm

The man, aged in his 50s, had been walking his 18-month-old dog along the cliff tops when the animal fell 10 metres into the water below.

In an attempt to rescue his pet, the owner went onto the beach below and then swam 20 feet across the bay to reach him.

The pair then managed to get onto a rock below the cliffs, but with the tide coming in they were still in danger and needed the help of coastal rescue teams.

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Sunderland Coastguard Rescue Team and the RNLI crew from Sunderland Lifeboat Station were called to rescue a man and his dog from rocks at Whitburn. Photo by Sunderland Coastguard Rescue team.

Sunderland RNLI were called at 11.30am on Sunday, August 16, along with Sunderland Coastguard Rescue Team to the scene, known as “The Wherry”, in Whitburn.

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Due to the location of the casualties, the RNLI volunteer crew had to use a procedure called veering to safely reverse the boat towards the rocks while using the boat’s anchor to stop them being washed onto the rocks.

A member of the crew was then able to reach the pair. They were taken by lifeboat to Sunderland Lifeboat Station.

A man in his 50s scrambled down the cliffs after his dog had fallen 10 metres from the top into the water. Photo by Sunderland Coastguard Rescue Team.

Both the owner and the dog are safe and well. They were provided with warm clothing before returning home.

Sunderland Coastguard has issued a warning to dog owners to ensure that pets are kept on a lead along the cliff tops.

Sunderland RNLI helmsman Paul Nicholson said: “If they had been on the rock another hour then it would have been covered by water.

“It is important to make sure someone dials 999 at the earliest opportunity, which they did in this case, to ensure a prompt and swift response.

The dramatic rescue operation saw the RNLI volunteer crew use a procedure known as 'veering' to safely reverse the boat towards the rocks. Photo by Sunderland Coastguard Rescue Team.

"We fully appreciate the difficulty for dog owners in situations like this but we do encourage people not to self rescue their dog as quite often the dog will survive and get themselves out of trouble and quite often it is the owner who ends up in difficulty.”

In all coastal emergencies people are reminded to call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

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Once close enough to the rocks a member of the RNLI crew had to take the man and his dog to the boat where the pair were brought to safety. Photo by Sunderland Coastguard Rescue Team.

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